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New Guitar Amp Sims

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Sounds like you're in one of those "grass is greener" phases. Scuffham is fine and is still one of the top tier despite the lack of updating (though isn't there supposed to be an update that's something like 2+ years in the making?), so if you're happy w/ it but want to see about improving things from there I'd spend your money on a good character front end - not just a great transparent DI box, but one w/ vibe and color that be dialed back. 

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More of a side comment, but FX chains before and after an amp sim can also make a world of difference. Amp sims are merely a self-contained FX chain, so there are cases where minimizing what the amp sim is doing and moving pre/post FX into other solutions will allow better results. If you prefer S Gear, you can stick with that and test pre/post chains fairly readily. 

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1 hour ago, Christian Jones said:

Scuffham is fine and is still one of the top tier despite the lack of updating (though isn't there supposed to be an update that's something like 2+ years in the making?), so if you're happy w/ it but want to see about improving things from there I'd spend your money on a good character front end - not just a great transparent DI box, but one w/ vibe and color that be dialed back. 

Yeah, I thought last year about this time Mike said he was going to update all the SW that is used to build s-gear to current releases. I'm guessing that's not an easy task. No new features in that. That is supposed to be followed by a release 3.0. I'm not holding my breath.

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I tried the Vermillion by Kuassa, it's not bad for clean after some tweaking. None of the "clean" presets are anywhere near clean, they are all distorted, some quite heavily so I don't know what they are doing there. And I use low output pickups. At the moment I don't have an amp sim that sounds better than my $40.00 American sound Joyo pedal for clean fender sounds. I have tried most, while they get close, when I get my ear right up to the monitor, my guitar has more tone and richness and smoothness with the Joyo pedal than with any amp sim.

The ease of use of the Joyo also is better for me, 6 knobs and that's it.   The waveform also looks healthier, fatter and smoother whereas all the amp sim waveforms look to me just like they sound, spiky and scratchy. This could be due to me going direct in to the audio interface, I don't know, perhaps there is no buffer? and it will always sound bad this way. The Joyo also feels more like a real amp in the way it responds. The Joyo also stands up in the mix, it sounds good regardless at what volume I put it at in the mix, the amp sims become even more scratchy and lacking in tone when you sit them back in the mix.

I am still not that impressed by amp sims to deliver a rich, quality fender tone, it's not quite there yet for me. Also the workflow with the pedals is simple and done, that's it. All you need to do is EQ and Comp, that's it. This is what I need when I put the tracks down and jam to the songs, a great sounding track of rhythm electric guitar that I then may not even need to change for the final product with no mucking about. If that is not there, it makes it harder for me to compose the rest of the instruments and doesn't inspire me to go on.

In production of the song, I am happy to use amp sims like guitar rig to produce alternate effected guitar parts direct from midi or play the guitar through guitar rig for stereo effects etc. Guitar rig can sound great used this way, in stereo for clean.

I really would like amp sims to be the solution for me but at the moment, while they have a place in production, I can't use them for my go to sound and my initial song creation sound.

 

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6 hours ago, Christian Jones said:

I'd spend your money on a good character front end - not just a great transparent DI box, but one w/ vibe and color that be dialed back. 

I think this could be my problem when using sims, going straight into the UR44 might not be cutting it but when I have a $40.00 pedal that does seem to be cutting it at the moment, for fender clean anyway, I'm reluctant to put up the dollars  for a better front end, I'm happy with the UR44 for it's mic inputs at least, mic'd acoustic guitar and vocals are fine for me there. Perhaps investing in a good quality DI might change things but then again, it might not.

I might try my boss tuner which is advertised to be good for DAW front end as it acts as a "buffer". See if that makes any difference. The problem is, if you have to add things at the front end to make amp sims sound good, it defeats one of the positives of amp sims, just plugging in direct and playing straight away, may as well use pedals.

Edited by Tezza

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6 hours ago, Tezza said:

I tried the Vermillion by Kuassa, it's not bad for clean after some tweaking. None of the "clean" presets are anywhere near clean, they are all distorted, some quite heavily so I don't know what they are doing there. And I use low output pickups. At the moment I don't have an amp sim that sounds better than my $40.00 American sound Joyo pedal for clean fender sounds. I have tried most, while they get close, when I get my ear right up to the monitor, my guitar has more tone and richness and smoothness with the Joyo pedal than with any amp sim.

The ease of use of the Joyo also is better for me, 6 knobs and that's it.   The waveform also looks healthier, fatter and smoother whereas all the amp sim waveforms look to me just like they sound, spiky and scratchy. This could be due to me going direct in to the audio interface, I don't know, perhaps there is no buffer? and it will always sound bad this way. The Joyo also feels more like a real amp in the way it responds. The Joyo also stands up in the mix, it sounds good regardless at what volume I put it at in the mix, the amp sims become even more scratchy and lacking in tone when you sit them back in the mix.

I am still not that impressed by amp sims to deliver a rich, quality fender tone, it's not quite there yet for me. Also the workflow with the pedals is simple and done, that's it. All you need to do is EQ and Comp, that's it. This is what I need when I put the tracks down and jam to the songs, a great sounding track of rhythm electric guitar that I then may not even need to change for the final product with no mucking about. If that is not there, it makes it harder for me to compose the rest of the instruments and doesn't inspire me to go on.

In production of the song, I am happy to use amp sims like guitar rig to produce alternate effected guitar parts direct from midi or play the guitar through guitar rig for stereo effects etc. Guitar rig can sound great used this way, in stereo for clean.

I really would like amp sims to be the solution for me but at the moment, while they have a place in production, I can't use them for my go to sound and my initial song creation sound.

 

I don't know man, it sounds like something's wrong over there, or just not ideal it's hard to say, but I feel like you should be getting better results w/ sims. Btw, and I don't know if you discovered this when testing it, but that big awesome clean sound on the Vermilion exists on channel C. Tyler from Honest Amp Sim Reviews also raved about that channel C, that's where it's at, but actually that amp has some pretty dope stoner doomy drive sounds on the other channels too, it's a pretty rad amp all around actually. If you're not getting that clean sound on channel C of the Vermilion, or any good sounds from it then something probably ain't right or ideal over there. Likely it's a gain staging issue and you probably need to reduce the gain on the UR44 and/or elsewhere. That's one of the great things about the Pre 73, when in DI mode I can drive the input real nice w/ the Mic gain knob and get some Neve-ish color, or I can back off on that and turn up the output knob instead and get a less colored signal, but to get a good sparkly *clean* sound from any of the amp sims I need to back off on both and gain stage it in the sim.

I have a relatively complicated chain - or not so much complicated but I certainly don't plug straight into the interface  and it's more of a traditional chain like you would w/ a real amp.

I play through two different amp sims simultaneously so as to mimic splitting my signal between two amps, and each one sounds different: One amp gives me an Alice in Chains type of metal sound, and the other gives me a Siamese Dream era big muff sound and I blend the two together to get what I call a metal muff sound. The Siamese muff sound is the dominant sound and the AIC metal sound is there to give the muff sound a little more definition and to make it a bit more chuggable. Because let's face it, big muffs aren't exactly known for their definition, but I achieve it this way in spades.

Here's my chain:

Among other things I play a Warmoth baritone strat w/ a Custom 5 in the bridge and Pearly Gates in the neck (both Seymour D), that plugs into a TC Electronic Spark boost pedal (w/ barely any gain boost added as it's just there to put back the gain the splitter pedal takes away - and that splitter btw is advertised to *not* suck any of the gain but it does suck a real tiny amount but the Spark fixes that), then into a Boss TU-2 (yes, for the tuner AND the buffer and the buffer *does* make a difference in my signal strength/integrity), then into a SubnUp Octaver, sometimes a CAE Wah, then into a Radial Twin City Splitter - then from there one output goes to a PSA-1 that has a Big Muff and a Swollen Pickle in it's input and a Small Clone in it's effects loop (and btw, amazing Fender cleans and TWANG omg the twang the PSA has is stupid = real good) and the other output from the splitter goes to the Golden Age Pre 73. Both outputs/preamps then plug into respective inputs of a lowly RME 9632. 64 or 128 buffer and no noticeable latency. And once ITB the PSA is met by whatever IR I want to give it (usually an OwnHammer Fender or Diezel) where I then monitor the PSA signal via the daw input monitoring (no hardware monitor) and the Pre 73 goes straight to the Nembrini Marshall. All I can say is I get some amazing sounds and I'm a rabid tone chaser since the dawn so I know good tone and how to make the best of what I have.

As my signal travels through all those pedals, preamps and splitter the TU-2 helps keep that signal/gain strong and is noticeably weaker w/o it, and though seemingly counter-productive plugging into the Spark before the tuner works best.

I'm getting a new nut put on my Warmoth baritone now, but when I have it back I can post some audio samples of the sounds I get through this setup, probably in a separate thread idk, but my point is if you're not getting amazing sounds from the top tier amps sims then I think something ain't right. Probably gain staging. Or maybe just a preference thing idk.

In fact - and this is just my opinion - the sounds I'm getting are so good I'm totally fine w/ recording my serious final tracks w/ the sims, and like Craig Anderton, I'm able to get some great sounds w/ sims and no one would have a clue I'm using them. I mean I wouldn't deny it if asked, but I don't broadcast it because a great sound is a great sound, who cares how I got it. Btw, the Joyos are cool, try sending the Joyo signal into a track in your daw where you have an IR Loader inserted w/ some cool IR to run the Joyo through. That's how I run my PSA-1 and I bet it'd be dope.

 

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On 9/18/2019 at 2:34 PM, rsinger said:

I think Amplitube and TH-U have caught up. I like Fender and AT has the Fender 1 & 2 collections so you get a lot of amps to choose from. I like the Hendrix and Mesa Boogie collections as well. I like some of the Brunetti amps in TH-U and a few others.

This is not apples to apples (and can't be), but I still prefer the gainier sounds from the Wayfarer amp from S-Gear to similar tones from  Amplitube's MB Mk III or Mk IV.  But IK has made some big strides.  Compare the unlicensed Mk III from the core package to the Mk III in the newer Mesa/Boogie collection and you will see just how far they have come.

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On 9/25/2019 at 12:08 PM, mettelus said:

More of a side comment, but FX chains before and after an amp sim can also make a world of difference. Amp sims are merely a self-contained FX chain, so there are cases where minimizing what the amp sim is doing and moving pre/post FX into other solutions will allow better results. If you prefer S Gear, you can stick with that and test pre/post chains fairly readily. 

I usually put Amplitube in front of S-Gear for distortions, wah, etc.

Post-amp I might put something like NI's Choral or Replika.

 

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On 9/18/2019 at 8:37 PM, Christian Jones said:

And I'll say this. I'm not crazy about the all in one suites like Amplitube and BIAS FX. Not saying those suck but I'm just *very* particular and the way I see it, if I'm going to be reduced to relying on amps sims for my tone then I must have the absolute stone cold best, so I go after the piecemeal stuff. Something like BIAS FX 2, which I have, has a couple things in it that are ok, but a lot of bloat that isn't, imo. I recently scored the best Marshall sim in the business, the Nembrini MRH810 on sale for a little over $50 but it's back at its usual $137 for now - and that's just for *one* amp, a JCM800 head.. not 3, 4, or 20 amps for that $137, but a single amp for that price. So yeah piecemeal will likely be more expensive, but again, I must have the best if it has to be sims and not a real amp, so it is what it is. Depends too on what sounds you're after. 

You want an amazing clean amp w/ a big 'ol huge clean sound check out Kuassa Vermilion which can be had for around $17 right now (usually $39) from everyplugin. 

Another great Marshall is the Kuassa  Caliburn, also on end of summer sale right now and in that one you get three Marshalls. But the Nembrini stuff are "next Gen" amp sims and Igor Nembrini also makes all of Brainworx's amps, and Brainworx sims are about the best in the biz... But if you see some amps on Brainworx that you like, you'll see that they're all very pricey, like $149 per amp - so don't buy them there, but rather scour the KVR buy/sell section where folks are selling their licenses *super* cheap. Like, Brainworx bx_bassdude (Fender Bassman sim) is $149 on Brainworx, but I scored it literally for a few dollars from someone off KVR. Then it was just $20 for me to activate the licence, which was fully covered by my PA voucher. 

So I won't recommend amp suites because I don't like them. If you want the best then be looking at Brainworx, Nembrini, Neural DSP and a couple of the Kuassa amps. I'm not a Mesa fan. 

I have been demoing the Nembrini MRH810 and I have to say, it is excellent. Has a lovely open feel to the driven and clean tones (I’m not into metal). A distinct lack of “mush” which is great. I’m A-B ing with S Gear, and it does offer something a little different. Considering how long it is since S Gear was updated, it shows what a class piece of kit it is that it can be in the same ballpark as the Nembrini. 

Also, trying the Nembrini cleans with my J Rockett Archer pedal - just a little volume boost and maybe zero or a touch of gain - very pleasing results, a great combination. I like the stock Nembrini IRs too. I’d be tempted at the sale price...have to look out for it. 

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There's also Neural DSP Plini , which I am also demoing. Struck by the versatility and how easy it is to get decent tone - cleans, and breakups especially good. That said, I need to try to the acid test, which to me is using it in the context of a full mix on one of my own songs. Interested in your views. 

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It's not new, and they may not update it.  But I think this one is much better thought out than Amplitube.  is Peavey Revalver 4.  What I like about it is they have many speaker cabinets available for cheap, and the speakers have spots laid out on where you can scroll through about 14 different kinds of virtual microphones and try them for different sounds and they tell you where they are.  So you aren't just second guessing everything.  That doesnn't cover the amps or the stomp boxes or the other effects that come with it.  They don't have as many amplifiers as amplitube.  But there is more than enough and the website attempts to describe the tones between speaker cabinets with different words for each cabinet which gives me an idea to think about sound.

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